Available Treatments for Syphilis

How to Eradicate This Pesky STI

A pharmacist works on a prescription.
A pharmacist works on a prescription. Steve Debenport/Getty Images

Have you been diagnosed with syphilis? Are you wondering whether or not it is treatable? Don't worry. Syphilis is, indeed, treatable. And the primary means of eradicating the infection is simple enough, though it can't be done with over-the-counter medication.

Rather, syphilis can be treated with antibiotics right at your doctor's office, and usually in the form of penicillin. Doxycycline, another drug used to treat and prevent infections, may be administered as an alternative if you have a penicillin allergy.

Whichever antibiotic you require, it must be administered either intramuscularly or intravenously, depending on which ​stage of syphilis you are in. Afterward, you will most likely be required to follow up this initial form of treatment with a blood test known as rapid plasma reagin (RPR), so as to confirm the treatment's efficacy.

If your syphilis is diagnosed early enough, and you are then given the appropriate antibiotic treatment in the infection's primary or secondary stage, you will be completely cured. If you are, instead, in the latent or tertiary (final) stage of syphilis, treatment will still eradicate the infection and stop further damage from occurring. The damage that has already been done, however, will have to be treated separately, and may most likely be difficult or impossible to repair.

Just for your information, syphilis is a reportable infection. This means that it must be reported by the health care practitioner at your health care facility to the appropriate public health authorities.

This allows for greater ease in identifying and treating potentially infected sexual partners.

How Soon Can I Have Sex After the Treatment for Syphilis?

In general, a person can no longer transmit syphilis 24 hours after starting treatment. Some people, however, do not respond to the usual doses of penicillin, so it is important that your health care provider advises individuals on when it is safe for them to commence unprotected sex.

As mentioned above, an RPR is probably the best way to confirm that you are no longer at risk of passing along the infection.

Related Reading on Syphilis and Other STIS

  • Signs Symptoms of Syphilis provides further information on the symptoms you may experience at various stages of the infection.
  • Images of Syphilis shows some of the physical signs of the infection. If you notice any of these, you may want to call your doctor and schedule an appointment to get tested.
  • And here is a page containing information on the most common sexually transmitted infections you can contract. This page contains links to even more in-depth overviews of syphilis and other STIs.

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